Yay! Broke the 300 question mark! Thanks for all the cool questions guys! :D
I went to school in Galway, Ireland. My secondary school is known as “the Bish” and I went there from 1997-2002.
I did my undergraduate degree in Physics & Astronomy at Galway (2002-2006), then did a Masters in Maths at Cambridge (2006-2007) and then did my PhD in Astrophysics at Manchester (at Jodrell Bank, 2007-2010).
Of course! I worked in a music store called Zhivago in Galway. I then did 2 summer jobs doing astronomy at the University in Galway. I went to the Kennedy Space Centre and did an internship with NASA one summer. A PhD of course is a full time job (and yes they pay you!), and when I finished that I worked in Manchester Uni. until this March when I moved to Germany and now I work here!
I am a “postdoctoral researcher” which in normal language means I am a scientist who can do my own research all day!
My Typical Day:
Hmmm – no 2 days are ever the same! Get up, go to office/airport/telescope, observe with telescopes, search for new stars in my observations, write computer programs to get big computers to do things for me, give talks on my work to my work colleagues (or at conferences sometimes), discuss ideas with colleagues (sometimes on other side of world!), go home happy to be a scientist! Oh and somewhere in between I usually go on twitter! 😉
What I'd do with the prize money:
Firstly I will buy some podcasting and vodcasting equipment to enable me to do some outreach using the likes of Youtube etc. Also, I would like to use the money to visit schools taking part in I’m a Scientist to answer your questions in person! Another idea I think is cool would be to create a schools astronomy essay competition – the money could help with prizes! If I win I think I can convince my boss to donate some supplementary cash as well so I could buy a couple of wee telescopes for public demonstrations in city centres etc.(which rock by the way!). If there is anything left over I would make a donation to the Jodcast and/or the 365 Days of Astronomy Project.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
I asked people on twitter for help with this. Suggestions were “Pulsar RRAT King”, “Brings the Haribo”, “Flying Spaghetti Cleric”, “Tall Irish guy”, “Tall Irish Doctor” and “Popular Successful Rebellious”! I don’t know accurate or helpful any of those are but there you go!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
My teachers said I was a bit of a chatterbox but I don’t think I ever got into too much trouble …
Who is your favourite singer or band?
This changes a lot for me! But I think that if I had to narrow it down to 3 right now it would be System of a Down, Snoop Dogg and Kila. Wow, I’m strange!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Besides live forever and be a millionaire with magic powers? I’d like to be remembered after I’m gone, for something I’ve done in science. Other than that I’d simply like to have a happy life and I’d secretly (although not secretly any more!) love to be an actor on Coronation Street!
Tell us a joke.
Well I doubt it is as good as this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gpjk_MaCGM but how about a geeky one (I am an astro geek after all): Two atoms bump into each other. One says “I think I lost an electron!” The other asks, “Are you sure?”, to which the first replies, “I’m positive.” … I know it’s lame!